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Sunday, June 16, 2024
Walker proposes a tax incentive package to a fleeing company to keep manufacturing jobs in Northern Wisconsin.

Walker proposes a tax incentive package to a fleeing company to keep manufacturing jobs in Northern Wisconsin.

Walker proposes Foxconn-style tax deal to keep Fox Valley manufacturing jobs

Gov. Scott Walker called on legislators Monday to provide a Foxconn-esque tax break in order to prevent the closure of two paper mills, while critics accuse Walker of using the plan to bolster his re-election campaign.

The deal comes after paper manufacturing giant Kimberly-Clark announced plans to reduce capacity by eliminating more than 5000 jobs and 10 plant facilities, two of which are located in the Fox River Valley, employing 600 state residents.

Under the deal, Kimberly-Clark would receive a 17 percent tax credit for corporate payrolls, as opposed to the 7 percent available under current law.

“During our discussion, I stressed to the Governor that job retention is as important to the region as bringing new companies in,” said Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert. “Neenah is home to many of the employees who make their living, buy homes and services and raise families here due to the quality of life here. The skilled trained workforce is an asset to the company and the area.”

Neenah is the site of Kimberly-Clark’s first manufacturing plant, established in 1872, though the company has since moved its headquarters to Dallas.

Walker’s deal proposal comes in the midst of his re-election campaign, the timing of which has garnered some criticism from state Democrats.

“We will not be party to a state government which is mortgaging our future,” Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin told the Daily Cardinal. “New jobs are created by people who start out in small communities. Do not hold out large tax incentive packages in a race to the bottom to create employment.”

The mayor criticized Walker’s continued affinity for state-corporate job deals, claiming that the cost of each job renewed by the deal would be upwards of $200,000 to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, representatives of Kimberly-Clark have yet to publicly respond to the governor’s proposed deal.

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